In a move to prevent disasters like the one at the Fukushima power plant in 2011, nuclear scientists in Japan are planning a controlled reactor meltdown.
Using a scaled down version of a nuclear reactor, Tomoyuki Sugiyama, a senior scientist at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, said scientists “want to help improve the accuracy of the Fukushima accident analysis” using the data from their experiment.
“We want to study exactly how meltdowns happen and apply what we will learn to help improve ways to deal with severe accidents in the future,” another spokesman for the government-backed engineering agency told Agence France Presse.
The experiment will test a small fuel rod in a very rapid fission process. The project will begin sometime later this year, the spokesman said.
The Fukushima nuclear plant ended up crippled after a magnitude-9 earthquake followed by a huge tsunami sparked three nuclear meltdowns. As many as 300,000 people fled or voluntarily left their homes.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company or Tepco, also said nuclear-contaminated water spilled into the sea. Scientists are still recording nuclear radiation surrounding the plant and in the water.
The tsunami swept debris far inland and also out to sea — with some reaching the west coast of the U.S. months and years later.